Adidas had to stop allowing people to customize German soccer jerseys after they figured out the numbers 4 and 44 looked a little too much like an old German symbol
· Apr 2, 2024 ·

This is the kind of mistake that, for a German company like Adidas, is tough to overlook.

Adidas had to withdraw their #44 soccer jerseys and disallow customization of those jerseys because, well, because they looked a little too much like a Nazi symbol.

In case you're still lost, the 44 on this particular German soccer jersey looks an awful lot like this:

Yeah, that's the duel lightning bolt Nazi SS Schutzstaffel, Hitler's elite fighting unit led by Heinrich Himmler.

ANY Nazi-related symbols or likenesses would be tough to justify for Germany now. But for this bizarre font that makes the number 4 look like a lightning bolt "S"... that's just such a boneheaded mistake.

Adidas on Monday stopped offering the personalization of jerseys with names and numbers, and the federation halted the delivery of jerseys with the number 44 from its own online shop.

The federation said it was looking for an alternative design for the number 4 together with its partner, 11teamsports.

"None of the parties involved saw any proximity to Nazi symbolism in the development process of the jersey design," the federation said on X, formerly Twitter.

I guess I can see, if you just saw the 4 on its own and never saw the 44 how you might not notice.

But guys, how did you Nazi this one coming?

People on the internet were, of course, awful, and started ordering these jerseys with all sort of Nazi-related phrases and names.

The SS symbol is actually illegal to possess in Germany, so I doubt you'll see anyone sporting #44 around Berlin any time soon.

Adidas spokesman Oliver Brüggen told news agency dpa that the federation and 11teamsports were responsible for the design of the names and numbers on the shirts.

"People from around 100 countries work at Adidas. Our company stands for the promotion of diversity and inclusion, and as a company we actively campaign against xenophobia, antisemitism, violence and hatred in all forms," Brüggen said. "Any attempts to promote divisive or exclusionary views are not part of our values as a brand."

It sounds like a Hogan's Heroes plot point.

Adidas is working on a redesigned number 4 and will hopefully have the jerseys back on the market soon enough.

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